Tax evaders become pariahs for Credit Suisse

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse wants to clean house and remove all tax evaders from its clientele, bank chairman Urs Rohner said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Tax evaders become pariahs for Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner (Photo: Credit Suisse)

"It is clear that a business model based on untaxed assets has no future," Rohner told the Swiss-German daily Tages-Anzeiger when asked about a pending tax deal between Bern and Berlin.

The deal, which will require Swiss banks to deduct taxes from German clients and transfer the tax revenues to Berlin — thus allowing the clients to remain anonymous — is to be voted on by the upper house of the German parliament on Friday.

It is expected to be rejected though, since a majority of the Bundesrat has voiced opposition, deeming the deal is too lenient on tax evaders.

Rohner said it would be a shame if the deal did not go through.

"In my view, it would be a very good agreement for all those involved," he said, stressing the deal would help smooth relations between the two countries which have become tense amid allegations that Swiss banking practices are helping Germans hide billions of euros.

The Bundesrat should pass it as quickly as possible, he said, pointing out that "every day (without a deal) possible tax claims are slipping away."

But if the treaty is rejected, Credit Suisse does not intend to allow tax evaders to remain on as clients, he stressed.

If potential clients refuse to report their assets to the tax authorities in their countries, "the bank will clearly tell them that it does not want
their business," Rohner said, adding that the bank would also ask existing clients to leave if they did not declare their assets.

If ratified, the tax deal is set to take effect on January 1st next year, and will entail taxation rates of between 21 and 41 percent on German assets held in Switzerland.

Switzerland has reached similar deals with Austria and Britain and is negotiating deals with Greece and Italy

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Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?

Borders between Switzerland and its neighbours are open. But given high coronavirus infection rates, border nations have tightened their entry requirements.

Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?
Good old days in Paris. Photo by AFP

Yes, people from Switzerland can still to go to France, Germany, Italy and Austria, but it is not as easy as it was before the second wave of Covid-19 swept the entire region.

Of the four states bordering Switzerland, Austria is the easiest to enter.

For the time being, it does not restrict travellers from Switzerland. The borders remain open and no quarantine or Covid test is required for Swiss residents.

Like Austria, Italy has not to date implemented any access restrictions or quarantine requirements for Switzerland. The only condition set by the Italian authorities is that each person entering the country must complete a form declaring that they have not tested positive for Covid-19. Otherwise, it is necessary to observe a 14-day quarantine. 

However, before travelling south of the border keep in mind that Italian cinemas and theaters are closed, and restaurants must stop serving their customers at 6 pm. The authorities have also imposed a night curfew from 10 pm until 5 am.

READ MORE: How will lockdowns in France and Germany affect Swiss residents? 



Since October 30th, France has been in lockdown, which will last until at least December 1st. As such, travel on French territory is prohibited, except in well-defined cases — including trips to get to work, trips to buy essential goods, or trips for compelling family reasons — and on presentation of an ‘exit certificate’.


Unlike France, Germany has not implemented a new shutdown. However, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities like theaters and cinemas are closed until December.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said last week that the country's borders with its neighbours, including Switzerland, would remain open.

Gemany already placed Switzerland on its quarantine list on October 22nd, because Swiss Covid infection rates exceed those of its neighbour.

This means that anyone who enters from Switzerland must be tested on arrival in Germany. The tested person must then quarantine until the result comes through.

But the German state of Baden-Württemberg, which borders Switzerland, exempts Swiss arrivals from quarantine, under some conditions.

For example, those crossing the border from Switzerland to visit family and friends will be permitted to do so without quarantine, provided they do not stay longer than 48 hours. 

Baden-Württemberg's authorities are also allowing residents of Appenzell, Aargau, Basel, Basel-Country, Jura, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich to come to Germany without being tested, as long as they stay no longer than 24 hours.